Perth - Almost four years have passed since the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Efforts to find the debris of the missing aircraft failed so far. But a new search ship, Seabed Constructor, could solve the mystery.
Ocean Infinity, a US seabed exploration company uses underwater equipment that is capable of working at depths of up to 6000m and collecting data at record-breaking speeds.
The ship belongs to the Norwegian company Swire Seabed but has been rented by Ocean Infinity. The Texas company demands money from the Malaysian government if it finds the wreckage of the crashed Boeing 777. There is no a contract signed yet between the parties, but Seabed Constructor left Port of Durban (South Africa) to start the search mission because the weather conditions are currently favorable, Ocean Infinity's boss Oliver Plunkett told The Economist.
120,000 square kilometers of seabed have already been searched. The new search area is located just north of the old one and is 25,000 square kilometers in size. It was defined by the Australian Transportation Safety Board after new analyzes were made.
The Seabed Constructor has a lot more to offer than the Dutch company Fugro, which led the first search, at least that's what Ocean Infinity says. For example, the new search vessel carries around eight self-propelled submarines, each six meters long, weighing 1,800 kilograms and capable of diving up to 6,000 meters. Fugro had only one submarine in use, and it could dive only about 4000 meters deep and therefore did not reach everywhere in the seabed. This should be possible with the depth of 6000 meters. Ocean Infinity wants to scan 1,200 square kilometers per day. There are also new facts.
Before the Seabed Constructor starts the search, a few final tests will be carried out. Among other things, robots should place test debris on the seabed to determine the flow even more accurately. Then the submarines should find the test debris. They work with sonar waves that are less reflected by sand than by metal. Therefore, the debris should be located quickly.
The tours of the submarines are programmed by humans, but then they are on their own. They only occasionally get a ping from the research vessel to guide them in the right direction when in doubt. The small submarines have a battery life of 60 hours, so there should always be some underwater.